Mass unfollowing on Twitter

I do not pretend to be the greatest expert on on-line social media, but I do have quite a lot of experience and I am a keen student. Twitter is a phenomenon I had not thought too much about a year ago, but it is an incredible experience in real time conversation as far as I am concerned. Of course I post some small ads and links to my websites and blogs, but there is a lot of chit-chat and banter; as I said, conversation going on.

The latest fashion seems to be seems to be mass unfollowing though, and I am completely mystified by the way some have gone about this. I understand why some mass unfollow spammers, those who add no value and some of those whom they have auto followed. I do it myself. However there are people who have been following significant numbers with similar numbers following who have simply dumped nearly all those they follow, down to only double figures. Where does that leave someone who has say twelve thousand followers and is following fifty or so? That is not a conversation, it is broadcasting, The only exchanges that will ensue will have to be with the faithful followers who will have to initiate the conversation and hope that the Great One will deign to reply. The followers cannot even use direct messages any more but have to depend on “@” comments.

Well, I have been unfollowed in this way by a few. That’s life. However I have to say that if a self-styled Twitter expert does this it causes confusion. I am not into humouring such eccentricities or into reading broadcasting material. I unfollow back. I might now and again choose to read the relevant blog which is broadcasting I have selected, but I will take the person as much less of an expert than I used to, because Twitter is about people and social intercourse. It is about networking and maintaining contacts. It is not about faith or following the Master; at least not for me.

© Jon Stow 2009

Comments

  1. “That is not a conversation, it is broadcasting” – I couldn’t agree more.

  2. AT Accounting says:

    But if I am following thousands I am not really listening to them. Is it worse to Broadcast or pretend to listen?

    In addition I have control over who I follow. If I choose to listen to a few, but thousands want to listen to me is that me fault?

    Ultimately I follow people who interest me, they can listen to me if they like, but I they don’t I do not blame them for my being boring…

  3. Thanks for your comments. To answer you, AT Accounting, could be a full blog post in its own right. To use Twitter in any practical way you need to use a Twitter client such as TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop. I use TweetDeck. I divide out the people I follow into groups, such as Tax and Accountancy,
    Ecademy
    friends (I am quite active there), useful sales trainers, celebrities and personal friends etc. That way I can dip into any stream I like for a short time and not miss tweets from my favourite groups whilst I am in front of the computer screen. I would expect to see your tweets because you are in one of my groups.

    If you are logged in to TweetDeck you can reproduce your favourite columns or streams on any computer.

    I dip in and out of the “All friends” stream, which is the column for all I follow. Often I can pick up useful information just from a quick browse and make someone a favourite so that I will easily see their future tweets.

    I do not just pretend to listen. Actually I listen to quite a lot and check hyperlinks posted. It really doesn’t take too much time, which it would if I relied on the web and did not use a Twitter client. So, yes, I listen and I have conversations. I have built quite a network of useful people to know just through Twitter.

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